How Brighton’s creative sector are working together to stop the unthinkable.
As a wise Vulcan science officer on a starship once said, “the more we share, the more we have”, and never has genuine collaboration had so much potential for impact than during the current health crisis.
The creative industries in particular are facing a number of extraordinary challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic, so we’ve been listening hard to businesses, artists, retailers and makers in order to programme a range of free, online events that explore and break down these challenges.
It was clear from early on in the lockdown period that radical collaboration and the pooling of resources is needed now more than ever, so our first online roundtable was an opportunity for the creative industries in Greater Brighton to share, offer and ask for access to resources, expertise and help from three fantastic lightning speakers, and from each other.
Liz Whitehead (Director, Fabrica Gallery – currently furloughed) outlined the great potential of visual arts organisations and venues to support others in the industry at the moment. From the capacity and expertise of furloughed staff, to the empty physical spaces of galleries that could be temporarily repurposed for artists’ residencies or even as short-term, table-top workspace for freelancers.
Dom Bailey (Baxter & Bailey, design agency) shared his top tips for navigating information anxiety, something that even more of us are experiencing lately amidst the mass shift to home-working. We talked online events, the beauty of Slack channels, and creative ways that businesses are engaging with both existing and potential customers. Baxter & Bailey can support cultural organisations in the area with content for sharing, peer-to-peer sounding boards and online advocacy.
After a brief introduction to Culture in Our City, Branwen Lorigan (Brighton & Hove City Council) gave an overview of the local government planning behind the city’s ‘reopening’ post lock-down, including, most relevantly, the use of the Brighton Centre as a testing space for socially distanced gigs and events, and the Economic Development Team’s scheme to work collaboratively with landlords to repurpose the city’s empty shops.
Our final speaker, Andrew Comben (Brighton Dome & Festival) highlighted the worth of forums like What Next? in allowing access to national as well as local conversations, and the fact that NPOs like his have a responsibility to “be as generous as we can” at present with the capacity and expertise of furloughed staff. BD&F are already supporting local independent artists to access vital emergency funds and looking at viability of repurposing their spaces to support the local charitable and voluntary sector, as well as using spaces as testing ground for safe events in the near future.
Attendees then had the opportunity to raise questions and debate. Those who came forward to outline what they needed most at the current time all circled three common wonts –
- A place for shared resources to ‘live’ for the avoidance of duplication
- Support with planning and fundraising in such unpredictable circumstances
- The need for these kind of events and forums to be ongoing, not just during the pandemic, but into a new and uncertain future
Attendees were then invited to share information about what they can offer each other and to share contact details.
Sounds helpful but you missed it? This is a NO FOMO zone! Watch the event on our webinar page. Find out more about our work on Post Traumatic Growth for business or some case studies of our work with the creative and cultural sectors.
‘Radical Collaboration and Pooling Resources’ was facilitated by always possible, in collaboration with the Brighton & Hove Arts & Creative Industries Commission, funded by Brighton & Hove City Council.
Written by Vicky Tremain, always possible associate